8 September 2016
Speaking today at SMM on the technology and regulation challenges for Arctic Shipping, Rob Hindley, LR’s Global Principal Specialist – Arctic Technology, welcomed the new Polar Code as a well-needed baseline of international requirements for shipping in all polar regions if consistently applied.
“While summer sea ice extent in the Arctic is decreasing and encouraging more interest in the Arctic there are still technology and regulatory challenges to overcome before the Polar regions are truly opened up for shipping: Destinational shipping, for natural resource development or tourism, still dominates and is summer-season in all but a few cases. Technology still needs to develop to ensure that ships designed for these areas can be economic and competitive with their ‘open water’ counterparts.
“Although the Polar Code brings a well-needed baseline of international requirements for shipping in all polar regions, the new code, being goal-based, brings its own challenges for owners, operators and builders and needs to be applied consistently to give that safe ‘level playing field’ that is demanded by the international maritime community,” said Hindley.
The Polar Code is an IMO regulation that has been developed to protect the two polar regions—Arctic and Antarctic —from maritime safety and pollution risks. It will be applicable to new ships from 1 January 2017 and existing ships (existing ships are exempt from structural requirements) from first intermediate/renewal survey after 1 January 2018.
The Polar Code is different to most existing regulation because it is, in part, goal-based rather than prescriptive. This means that it will describe an expected result but not how to achieve it. LR has launched a unique offer that will make it easier for clients to navigate their way to compliance.
Ship operators need to have a well-defined operating profile for their vessel as the scope and applicability of the regulation is determined by this. Once this profile has been established, operators can approach the Polar Code in an informed way, and the more informed their decision making, the better their chances of making the right choices for their business and the lower the risk of non-compliance. LR can assist with all aspects of compliance with the Polar Code and clients are able to access a wealth of arctic expertise to get exactly what they need, when they need it with LR’s global team of arctic specialists in place that can advise at each step along the way to compliance.
LR have also developed an interactive toolkit that allows clients to work through the Code on their own terms; additionally, guidance, templates and examples can be downloaded at www.lr.org/polarcode to help clients understand the Code and meet their compliance needs.